Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Bond
By Michael

At the helm for the first time, motoring to the yard
Tuesday morning.
When parenting an infant, love and bonding stem largely from what you give of yourself. Your heart may not be ready to burst at 3:00 a.m. after you spent 45 minutes pacing the room to soothe your kid to sleep on your shoulder only to have her begin screaming the moment you put her down. But the joy you experience the following day when she falls asleep in your arms or flashes a smile is magnified by your hardship the night before—and all of the nights prior, it just is.
I think it’s the same with boats.
I felt overwhelmed in the heat and humidity the day after we arrived and I began to consider the amount of work ahead of us to get this boat ready to live aboard in the next 30 days. How could we manage it? We’ve been here a full week now and I know the answer: love and bonding.
The girls indifferent to the fact that their 29,000-pound floating home is being lifted
out of the water.
This past year I said I loved this boat to anyone who asked. But in the same way the deep love and bond I feel for my girls took time and sacrifice to evolve, it took these past four days in a Mexican boat yard, with my boat on the hard and me toiling in a cloud of toxic dust beneath her hull, to really feel a meaningful bond.
Del Viento hauled out with her dirty bottom,
her old name still on the hull
It’s been very difficult, like sleepless nights and really difficult diaper changes. I’ve thrown away clothing that cannot be washed nor worn again. I’ve sweated buckets for eight hours in the hot sun wearing a respirator, goggles, and long-sleeved shirts.
But progress is being made. I scraped and sanded a couple coats of paint off her bottom. I opened, drained, and faired her five blisters, epoxying and glassing them over. I disassembled, cleaned, and greased her Max Prop. I bored the hard growth out of her through holes and cleaned her knot meter transducer. I applied three gallons of fresh antifouling in two complete coats.
I now love this boat. We are one—at least on the outside.
Windy attacked the inside. With all toxic dust in the outside air, she did so with the hatches closed. In this sauna she sweated more than I did, for two days. She removed everything from every locker, preparing to paint. And she was our foreman, keeping up with the laborers we hired to parlay our time in the yard.
·         Ector and Abraham polished and waxed the hull above the waterline.
·         Abraham scraped, sanded, cleaned, and taped the non-skid surfaces on deck in preparation for painting.
·         Antonio mixed and supplied epoxy and fiberglass for the blister repairs.
·         Antonio obtained and sealed a new base for our windlass.
·         Arturo ground down the hull at the bow to bare fiberglass, determined our 24-inch crack was in only the gel coat, and re-glassed, gel coated, and polished the area.
Tomorrow is day five and we go back in the water.
Heading back to the villa in the new family car.
You hear stories from cruisers all the time about how difficult haul-outs are. Our haul out has not been a picnic and yet, we have it so easy. We are not living aboard in the yard, tracking toxic crap up the ladder with us as we go in and out, maybe four- to five-hundred yards from a dirty public restroom and shower. We are living in a villa that is a short dinghy ride away. We have a large, clean space to recover in each evening.
And my sister is here. She arrived with my niece and nephew on day two in the yard. Beginning day three, Windy and I could go there together, accomplishing more and returning home to a nice dinner on the table.
Today we get dropped back in the water. With all of the underwater stuff done, Windy and I can concentrate together on the topsides and below, from the comfort and convenience of our slip. One of our first priorities is installing the 12-volt fans we bought for the cabin…and painting the lockers so we can stow stuff…and getting the exhaust mixer on the engine repaired…and installing the carbon monoxide alarm…and cutting holes in the cabin top for the solar vents…and installing our new opening portlights…
Almost ready to splash, two new coats of Petit Trinidad SR, red.


  1. She is a beauty! You two are the most motivated and industrious people I know. You will get it done and do the job well. Kisses to the girls.

  2. Sounds like a lot of fun! Say hi to Julie.

  3. It's good to hear the progress you've made. Already you've begun to realize, the fun part truly has begun. The boat looks great!

  4. Beautiful results. Looks like all the hard work is paying off.

    Really appreciate your realistic depiction of all the work it's taking to take off on your dream. I'm learning to sail for the first time right now (and have the blisters to prove it) in hopes of perhaps traveling extensively in the future.

    It's a great reminder that it takes love and hard work to make a dream come true.

  5. Just getting around to reading your blog. talk about trials and tribulations.
    I almost cried while looking at the dirty bottom we had it cleaned every 4th Week while in port and I dived
    the same frequency while out. Sorry to hear about blisters as well, to my knowledge she had never once had a blister before.
    You guys are getting right at everything all at once hope you don't play yourselves out. We would love to see her when you are finished.

    Terry and Terry

  6. Keep it up guys! You'll be so happy once you settle in... the work never ends, but thankfully it's not always so intense! Enjoying following your adventures (we'll be coming down in the Fall with our boat!)
    Cheers, Kyra S.V. Nyon

  7. Looks beautiful, you should be proud. I'm glad you are feeling love and devotion for your new home.

  8. The boat looks great! Caden asked me to tell Eleanor that he thinks she's wearing a pretty dress in the first picture.

  9. WOW Michael. You look sooooo relaxed. I am so jealous and happy at the same time for you and your family. I'm still here patiently and happily supporting Carmencita. (yeah right)



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